Thursday 22 November 2012

Post surgery day 12

Two days ago my foot started to show some signs of fairly rapid improvement. In those two days I’ve gone from prohibitive pain just trying to put weight through it without moving, to todays crutch free hobbling about the house. It’s still a hobble and will have to be for a while yet since the drilled area underneath my medial malleolus is still feeling raw and preventing a full stride. However, the feeling of bipedal movement even if it’s only slow and from room to room feels good. Little Freida keeps bringing me my crutches and it was especially nice to leave them sitting by the couch for once and follow her on foot. The boost was momentary however, since she proceeded to burn me off on my own board, swinging around on the holds.

Today, hanging about on my board and putting my feet on, I’m actually thinking that moderate climbing may well be easier than walking. So I think it’s almost time to get moving on some very easy routes. Scarpa are sending me a bigger pair of rock shoes for my swollen foot. Even then I reckon the first week or two of climbing will need to be in one approach shoe. Caution is probably well advised though - I’ll wait a few days yet, and start off on 6s.

Meanwhile I have plenty of training tasks, rehab tasks and working tasks to complete each day and have recommenced these in earnest. I even needed a rest day from fingerboard work today! Some of my pre-surgery gain in pure finger strength have been lost from the week off, which is expected and temporary of course. 

One thing I have on my side is experience of having gone through this sort of thing before. It certainly hasn’t helped me deal with the fear of permanent loss of function. But it has helped me manage the maintenance training much better. The last time I broke my ankle I was 3 months in plaster and when it came out I had one leg like a stick insect. I was pretty lazy then (it was 15 years ago) and didn’t do anything like the levels of physiotherapy and training I ought to have done. So it took a lot longer than it could have to return to fitness. I totally missed the opportunity to get a good ‘foundation’ phase done. So when the time came around, I had to learn to climb well again at the same time as start from being ridiculously weak.

This time round, I’ve tried to give myself some slack where it makes sense, and worked hard where it makes sense. For instance, I’ve eaten a ton and then had cake afterwards. Funnily enough my weight is the same although body composition might need some miles on the bike to correct. But I’ve done more fingerboard, rotator cuff, flexibility and push ups in the last 7 weeks than the previous year. It might be into next spring before I can sort everything else out enough to reap rewards from that, but they will hopefully be there.

Carrying lunch slowly through to another room under my own steam felt like a wee milestone today, but the stiffness tonight reminded me there will be plenty more ups and downs to come. I might get a fright when I try and climb!

Friday 16 November 2012

Post surgery day 6

I’m finally home after surgery. Until today, I felt pretty rubbish. Particularly yesterday morning which was a real low point of feeling pretty fed up indeed. I got a bit of a fright after three days when I took my dressing off to find my foot was a fair bit bigger and more purple than I expected it to be. I guess in my mind I’d already gone through the ‘ankle like a purple football’ phase once already. It’s a slightly more normal shape after much time under an ice pack and I can move it a little more than, well, not at all.

So I’m happier today and feeling like it’s a bit more ‘on track’. I’ll just let the next few days roll with some gentle movement and more ice until next week it’s more established in the proliferation phase and hopefully ready for some slightly less gentle stretching.

Up til today I must admit I just couldn’t face training at all. I’m not sure if this was a physical thing or whether I was just feeling a bit low. But tonight I’ll try a few hangs and see how I get on. Even if it’s just a warm-up and then stop, doing something might be really good for morale.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Recovery day 1, again

Wakey Wakey Mr MacLeod. Feeling rather spaced shortly after coming round.

Yesterday I had my ankle surgery, which went quite well. Quote of the day from the surgeon was ‘articular surface intact’. Thank goodness for that. However, I did have a small flap of torn cartilage in the medial gutter of my ankle. It was very small and right on the edge of the cartilage, so it may not give me any trouble in the long term, or it might. We’ll have to see. I’m also still sore at the back of my ankle which couldn’t be properly seen but the surgeon’s opinion is that this is not a big deal and will settle. Again, we’ll just have to see. The large tibial bone spur which was creaking around in my ankle was chewed up and pulled out and I’m pretty sure that will help matters a lot!

I’ve got instructions to proceed to full weight bearing as pain allows. Obviously, 24 hours post operation I certainly don’t feel like putting my foot anywhere near a floor. On Monday I have to be in Wales for a big Gore-Tex event, but then I’ll just go home and work on my book for a week or two and then if everything feels ok, I will try to begin some gentle climbing. I do have a lingering worry about the back of my ankle. But there’s not much I can do except see how things pan out. I’m trying not to base my feelings on how it feels one day after being under the knife.

I do have a rehab plan in mind, but it’ll have to stay in my mind for a few more days until everything settles and I know exactly what the starting place is.

I feel lucky to the point of feeling guilty about having got away without more serious damage and disability. Much as I’m aware that we have a lot of power to get ourselves out of all manner of holes, there are some things that cannot be changed, and others have far more serious misfortune to deal with. What can you do except take the luck you’ve been given and run as far as you can with it?